Donated breast milk is miracle milk for vulnerable infants.

A premature infant born in 2014 has a better chance to survive and thrive than anytime in history. As medicine advances, we have access to better technology, closer monitoring for earlier intervention and treatment with targeted drugs with fewer side effects.

But no medical advancement protects a vulnerable preemie as well as breast milk. Prematurity can place a baby at risk for a dangerous condition known as Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC). One of the most effective strategies for lowering the risk of NEC is to feed human milk.

According to neonatologists at the University of Iowa, it is important to provide small amounts of human milk starting as soon as possible, while the infant is being primarily fed intravenously, to prepare the intestines to digest normally. The researchers recommended human milk from a milk bank or donor can be used if mother’s milk is unavailable.

Donated breast milk is a crucial part of the plan of care for the smallest and most frail babies. But there is a constant shortage, there has never been enough donated milk to meet the demand. Donating breast milk is something many of us lactating moms can do to make a positive impact in the lives of families with a premature baby.

To find out more about your options for donating breast milk in your area, check out the Human Milk Bank of North America website at https://www.hmbana.org/

Helen Anderson, creator of Milkies, has donated over 200 ounces of her own breast milk and plan to continue to do so.

Helen Anderson, creator of Milkies, has donated over 200 ounces of her own breast milk and plans to continue to do so.

Frozen Breastmilk

A freezer full of frozen breast milk for donation!

Breastfeeding Dads … If they had the tools, these dads would get the job done.

BFDad1Research shows that dads offer crucial support in the breastfeeding journey. If a partner is not supportive of breastfeeding, moms are likely to quit when the going gets tough.

BFDad2Project Breastfeeding is a new ad campaign to empower dads to take a more active support role in their baby’s nutrition. The project was inspired when Hector Cruz, a professional photographer and new father, helped his wife Nicole, through the early days of breastfeeding. The couple struggled through nipple pain and saw the lactation consultant together. Cruz saw how much a dad can help out and wanted to encourage other dads to step up and offer their partners the support they need.

According to their website, Project Breastfeeding is aiming to destigmatize public breastfeeding, educate men and empower women. It is refreshing to see a campaign that speaks to the influencers in a mother’s life, recognizing the many factors that are part of the choice to breastfeed. When a mother’s family, friends and community support her in breastfeeding she has the best possible situation for nurturing her child – and that benefits all of us.

BFDad4 BFDad5BFdad3

Breastfeeding and Emergency Preparedness

bf-emergency-postWe are digging out from our second winter storm here in Oregon, the kids are enjoying the snow now instead of hiding inside from the biting winds and sub-zero temperatures. As the winter weather continues we are reminded to prepare for power outages, treacherous driving conditions and frozen water pipes. But what special considerations should you make if caring for a baby?

Breastfeeding is real emergency preparedness –

1. Warm and ready for baby – no electricity required.

2. Always safe – no risk of contaminates from your water supply.

3. Always with you – you don’t need to brave icy roads to buy it.

4. Lowers stress in tough situations – hormones released when baby nurses can calm you and your baby.

5. Your milk contains antibodies that fight infection so your baby can stay healthy, even when others are getting sick.

6. Breastfeeding shares your body heat and helps your baby stay warm – even when it’s cold out.

7. When you are short on food, your body still makes nutritious breast milk to satisfy your baby’s needs.

In 2006 a family visiting Oregon became stuck on a snowy mountain road. The 2 children survived nine days before being rescued in good condition. Doctors say breastfeeding was literally a life-saver for the girls ages 7 months and 4 years. Read their story here:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2701717

Breast milk is the safest food during an emergency and protects your baby from many of the health risks that can cause serious illness or even death.

Breastfeeding during emergency situations is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization and other groups. For more information on caring for your baby during an emergency, check out these links:

http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/Communities/BreastfeedingandEmergencies/tabid/193/Default.aspx

http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/InfantNutritionDisaster.pdf

http://www.ennonline.net/ife